By Julie Benton
July 12, 2022
Each year, the ICAA National Office holds the Summer Studio in Classical Architecture, a four-week immersive program that introduces a cohort of university-level students to the core tenets of classical design. Students divide their time between the design studio and New York City itself, using the city as a 'living laboratory' for measured and analytical drawing; the relationship of the city's architecture to principles of urbanism; and more. Alongside these studies, students have the opportunity to meet emerging professional mentors and instructors, as well as visit classical design firms based in New York.Follow along with the cohort of the 2022 Summer Studio, taking place from June 13th through July 9th, as students describe this year's experience in their own words.You can read articles for other weeks of the program here: Week One | Week Two
The students continued to develop and refine their design studio project throughout the third week, with three days devoted to open design studio time. While Monday and Tuesday were fully devoted to trace paper, vellum, and graphite in the studio, on Friday had the chance to take a break for the popular 'Clay Day' exercise, where they spent time learning about model building techniques and sculpting a small clay model of their design that rests on a scale model of the design location, Bartel-Pritchard Square.
Student Clare Newbolds places her clay model on a model of Bartel-Pritchard Square.
"In the third week we made considerable progress on our designs for our final presentation," said Joe Carli, who graduated this spring with a Bachelor of Urban Planning degree from the University of Cincinnati. "Starting with our initial ideas from the first esquisse, we began to make concrete decisions about our building and site plans. By the end of week 3, we closed in on the final iterations of our designs, and made massing models to better understand how our buildings will shape the space in question."
"My experience with the Summer Studio thus far has been extremely enjoyable and has surprised me in many ways," Joe continued. "The sheer amount of knowledge that I have gained over the past three weeks is more than I would have expected to in a semester at my university."The other half of the week saw the students switch gears to study a completely new topic: the Beaux-Arts method of architectural rendering in wash. After an introduction to the technique by architectural illustrator David Genther, the students spent two days rendering a pavilion in color.
Instructor David Genther demonstrates wash rendering techniques.
"My favorite class of week three, and perhaps the whole program, has been the class in ink wash rendering," said Bella Salazar Harper, a rising sophomore at Carnegie Mellon University. "As someone who has been very reliant on computer-generated renders and photoshop in the past, the idea of creating realistic-looking renders with just water color seemed out of reach. I set my expectations low and went in with an open mind. To my surprise, I wasn’t half bad. Thanks to our fantastic instructors and TAs, I feel as though I have a grasp on the technique and an appreciation for the age-old tradition. I have realized through learning the ink wash technique, as well as hand-drafting in general, that there is a more personal element to things created by hand."
"My interest in classical architecture stems more from my interest in art history. Unlike the majority of my classmates, my university does not include the study of classicism into its design curriculum. This has made the ICAA summer studio program that much more interesting. I am surrounded by students and professionals who regularly practice classical design. This has been a radical shift from the more modern-mindset of my school colleagues. Though I wouldn’t consider myself a true classicist, I have an appreciation for the study of antiquity and a curiosity about the application of classical language today. This program has definitely changed how I see architecture and the world around me. I am unable to look at doorways with molding without running through the names of each element in my mind. This is more a blessing than a curse, as the knowledge and appreciation of precedent that I have gained from this intensive will help me to succeed in a future of intelligent and well-informed design."
Students learn about and sketch Columbia's campus.
The students' exercises in the studio were broken up by several field activities, which included taking a tour of the offices of Robert A.M. Stern Architects to see how architects practice classical design today; attending the PLINTH (ICAA Emerging Professionals) summer party to connect with local students and designers; and completing measured drawings of building at Columbia University as part of a Saturday outing. These experiences all helped to prepare the students for the final week, which focuses on the completion of the design studio project.
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